Leaders eat last


Title: Leaders eat Last
Author: Simon Sinek

Why do only a few people get to say “I love my job”? It seems unfair that finding fulfillment at work is like winning a lottery; that only a few lucky ones get to feel valued by their organizations, to feel like they belong.

Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled.

This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.

In his travels around the world since the publication of his bestseller Start with Why, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams were able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general.

“Officers eat last,” he said.

This principle has been true since the earliest tribes of hunters and gatherers. It’s not a management theory; it’s biology. Our brains and bodies evolved to help us find food, shelter, mates and especially safety. We’ve always lived in a dangerous world, facing predators and enemies at every turn. We thrived only when we felt safe among our group.

Our biology hasn’t changed in fifty thousand years, but our environment certainly has. Today’s workplaces tend to be full of cynicism, paranoia and self-interest. But the best organizations foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a Circle of Safety that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.

The Circle of Safety leads to stable, adaptive, confident teams, where everyone feels they belong and all energies are devoted to facing the common enemy and seizing big opportunities.

As he did in Start with Why, Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories from a wide range of examples, from the military to manufacturing, from government to investment banking.

The biology is clear: when it matters most, leaders who are willing to eat last are rewarded with deeply loyal colleagues who will stop at nothing to advance their leader’s vision and their organization’s interests. It’s amazing how well it works.

Waarom is daar so min mense wat sê “Ek hou van my werk”? Dit wil voorkom of dit onregverdig is dat sommige mense vervulling kry by die werk – dis is soos om die lotto te wen ; slegs ‘n paar gelukkiges voel of hulle waardeer word en of hulle tuishoort by die maatskappy.

Stel jou voor dat daar ‘n wêreld bestaan waarin amper almal opstaan met inspirasie om te gaan werk, waar almal voel dat hulle waarde bydra en waar mense huis toe terugkeer met ‘n gevoel van vervulling.

Hierdie is nie ‘n mal, geidealiseerde voorstel nie. Vandag, in baie suksesvolle organisasies, word puik omgewings geskep deur top leiers waar mense gemaklik kan saamwerk om groot dinge te bereik.

Outeur van die topverkoper Start with Why, Simon Sinek, het die antwoord ontdek in ‘n gesprek met ‘n generaal van die marinierskorps. “Offisiere eet laaste,” het hy gesê.

Sinek verduidelik in sy boek Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t waarom hierdie beginsel werk aan die hand van ware stories uit verskillende sektore.

Sakevrou het gevind dat die boek ‘n waardevolle boodskap oordra, hoewel dit die indruk gee dat dit vir ‘n manlike gehoor geskryf is.


Employees are people too

Before there was empathy at the company, going to work felt like, well, work. On any given morning, the factory employees would stand at their machines waiting to start at the sound of the bell. And when it rang, on cue they would flip the switches and power up the machines in front of them. Within a few seconds the whir of the machinery drowned out the sound of their voices. The workday had begun. About two hours into the day, another bell would ring, announcing the time the workers could take a break. The machines would stop and nearly every worker would leave their post. Some went to the bathroom. Some went to get another cup of coffee. And some just sat by their machines, resting until the bell told them to start work again…This was the way it had always been done.

But things would change after Bob Chapman took over the South Carolina company…Ron Campbell, a twenty-seven-year veteran of the company had just returned form three months in Puerto Rico where he had been responsible for installing manufacturing equipment in a customer’s plant. Sitting in the room with Chapman, Campbell was hesitant to talk about what life was like at the company. “First of all,” Campbell asked, “if I tell the truth, will I still have a job tomorrow?” Chapman smiled. “If you have any trouble tomorrow about what you say today,” he assured him, “you give me a call.”
And with that Campbell started to open up. “Well, Mr Chapman,’ he started, “it seems like you trust me a lot more when you can’t see me than when I’m right here. I had more freedom while I was way at a customer site than I do here,” he said, referring to his time away in Puerto Rico. “As soon as I stepped in the plant, it’s like all my freedom just slipped away. It feels like someone has their thumb on me. I had to punch a time click when I walked in and again when I left for lunch, came back and when I was done for the day. I didn’t have to do that in Puerto Rico.” This was nothing Chapman hadn’t heard before at other factories.

“I walk in the same door with engineers, accountants and other people who work in the office,” Campbell went on. “They turn left to go to the office and I go straight into the plant and we are treated completely differently. You trust them to decide when to get a soda or a cup of coffee or take a break; you make me wait for a bell.”

Others felt the same. It was like there were two different companies. No matter how much effort they put in, those who stood by the machines didn’t feel like the company trusted them simply because they stood on a factory floor instead of sitting at desks.

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